The Mission: Singles A’s & B’s

Goth rockers’ career charted through their singles.

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Though it can hardly be argued that there’s a dearth of Mission compilations available for the casual fan or completist, a collection of fifteen charting singles plus assorted B-sides is definitely the most fitting way to illustrate the history of a band whose career was built on them.

From the opening 12-string peal of 1986’s Serpent’s Kiss, it was evident the spartan sensibilities of The Sisters had been jettisoned for a broader and rockier remit, demonstrated in both their cover choices (Neil Young, The Kinks, The Beatles), and a thinly disguised Led Zeppelin complex.

The usual criticisms – overblown, melodramatic and lyrically suspect – while essentially undefendable, pale and recede when weighed against this succession of top-drawer tunes, ranging from the anthemic (Severina, Deliverance) to the extra-anthemic (Tower Of Strength, Wasteland).

A hint of sameness tends to dilute the later material, and although this collection ends at 1992, the pointers for future diminishing returns are conspicuous.

Always more likely to put a weaker track on an album than a B-side, the second disc throws up some legitimate gems – Fabienne and Blood Brothers (Hussey’s love letter to Ian Astbury) in particular – though the band’s covers of Free’s Wishing Well and Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot are noticeably absent and noticeably missed.

Tim Batcup

Tim Batcup is a writer for Classic Rock magazine and Prog magazine. He's also the owner of Cover To Cover, Swansea's only independent bookshop, and a director of Storyopolis, a free children’s literacy project based at the Volcano Theatre, Swansea. He likes music, books and Crass.